Championship Review: Hourihane a hat-trick hero in Villa thriller, Cardiff and Ipswich stay perfect
Aston Villa prevailed in a six-goal thriller to register their first win of the Championship season, while Cardiff City and Ipswich Town continued their perfect starts on Saturday.
Leeds United also showed they are still a threat without Burnley-bound striker Chris Wood, but Fulham's early-season struggles continued at home to Sheffield Wednesday.
HOURIHANE HAT-TRICK INSPIRES VILLA
Conor Hourihane hit a hat-trick to lead Villa to a much-needed 4-2 win over Norwich City, easing the pressure on manager Steve Bruce.
The Republic of Ireland midfielder opened the scoring on 22 minutes and added two more after the hour to seal his side's first win of the season.
Norwich twice cut the deficit, first through Josh Murphy and then the in-form Nelson Oliveira's third goal of the campaign, but left themselves with too much to do after falling two goals behind before half-time.
Bruce labelled Villa's performance "as good as I've seen us play" as his side climb to 16th.
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) August 19, 2017
CARDIFF WIN TOP-OF-THE-TABLE CLASH, TRACTOR BOYS STING BEES
Cardiff are one of only two sides to have won four from four after ending Wolves' 100 per cent start to the season in a 2-1 victory at Molineux.
Joe Ralls and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing scored either side of Leo Bonatini's equaliser to maintain the Bluebirds' place at the top of the Championship.
The only other team to boast a perfect record are Ipswich, who finished 16th last term.
Mick McCarthy's Tractor Boys extended their dream start by seeing off bottom-placed Brentford 2-0, Martyn Waghorn making it four goals in his past three matches before Joe Garner added a second at Portman Road.
League goals for NML!
— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) August 19, 2017
LEEDS WIN WITHOUT WOOD
Leeds were without striker Wood, but sealed back-to-back away wins with a 2-0 triumph at previously unbeaten Sunderland.
Last season's top scorer was left out as he nears a switch to Turf Moor and it was left to Samuel Saiz and substitute Stuart Dallas to provide the goals as Leeds moved up to fifth.
Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers join Leeds in the top six following respective 2-1 wins over Middlesbrough and Hull City, the Rs' come-from-behind victory secured courtesy of Idrissa Sylla's 91st minute winner.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 19, 2017
BLADES TAKE BRAGGING RIGHTS, OWLS DIG DEEP
Billy Sharp's 17th-minute goal secured Yorkshire bragging rights for Sheffield United in their 1-0 win over Barnsley, in a match that saw the Blades' Leon Clarke and the Tykes' Angus MacDonald sent off for a clash shortly before half-time.
United's second win of the season sees them climb to 10th.
There was a Sheffield double as Steven Fletcher gave Wednesday a morale-boosting 1-0 win at Fulham, while Preston North End edged Reading by the same margin at Deepdale.
Elsewhere, Derby County won 2-1 at Bolton Wanderers to go eighth as Bristol City and Millwall fought out a 0-0 draw.
— Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) August 19, 2017